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Bucket list experience:

Last updated: 10 November, 2022
Expert travel writer: Jennifer Ceaser

Come springtime, western Holland explodes into colour, with blooming daffodils, narcissi, dahlias, lilies – and of course, tulips – blanketing the low-lying fields.

This 44-mile route, which starts in Haarlem and stretches south through Leiden to the village of Naaldwijk, takes you past vast fields dense with a glorious array of flowers – especially in and around Lisse, home to the famed Keukenhof Gardens.

Along the way, vendors set up stalls selling bunches of locally cultivated blooms. Drive or cycle all or part of the picturesque route, and give yourself plenty of time to stop and smell the flowers!

Price: Free
Minimum age: Any
Age suitable: 4+
When: All year around
Duration: 3 hours

Getting there & doing it

The gateway to the flower route, Haarlem lies 20 miles west of Amsterdam. The 44-mile drive from Haarlem to Naaldwijk takes about two hours round-trip by car, but you’ll want to factor in plenty of time for snapping photos and exploring pretty villages along the way—and account for bottlenecks around Keukenhof Gardens during peak blooming season (generally mid-April to early May).

If you’re cycling, Haarlem to the Keukenhof Gardens takes about three hours round-trip; most bike rental shops have cycling maps available. While the paths are flat, keep in mind that Holland can be quite windy and rainy in spring.

An easier option is to hop on a bus from Amsterdam to Keukenhof and rent a bike there to explore the surrounding fields. There are four Keukenhof area cycling routes, ranging from 5km to 25km, and all are all marked with easy-to-follow, colour-coded signage.

When to do it

A variety of flowers start blooming in mid-March and continue through mid-May (though this may vary, depending upon nature). The height of tulip season is generally mid-April to early May. Avoid weekends and holidays, when traffic is busiest.

Our writer’s picks of the best places to stay near this experience, closest first

De L’Europe Amsterdam

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Ultra-plush five-star luxury in a landmark hotel. Perfectly located on the southern of the character-filled Canal Ring, walking distance to the big art museums.

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Ambassade Hotel

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Character-filled hotel in historic canal-facing buildings. The quintessential heritage stay, and perfectly located for exploring the city and enjoying up the Canal Ring atmosphere.

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Hotel Andaz Amsterdam Prinsengracht

Amsterdam, North Holland, Netherlands

Eclectic interiors, a stellar canal-front setting and the almost perfect location make this design hotel a true standout.

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Canal House

Amsterdam, North Holland, Netherlands

An intimate hotel in historic canal-facing buildings, with stylishly updated interiors. One of the trendiest places to stay in Amsterdam.

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Destination guides including or relevant to this experience


North Holland, Netherlands

Picturesque Golden Age canals, premier league art, cosy cafés, and liberal urban living combine to make Amsterdam one of Europe’s most vibrant capitals.

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